JENKINTOWN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As Giving Season 2016 begins, the philanthropy experts at National Philanthropic Trust, one of the Top 25 largest grant making institutions in the US and #GivingTuesday founding supporter, are sharing four key tips to help Americans maximize every donation.
“People spend more time online researching a new restaurant than a new charity they may donate to,” said Eileen Heisman, CEO of National Philanthropic Trust and #GivingTuesday ambassador. “Anyone on any budget can give strategically and intelligently and avoid impulsive giving that may not have the results they envision or allow their charitable dollars to fall into the wrong hands. Americans are the most philanthropic in the world -- in 2015, we gave more than $373 billion. Donors are busier than ever and one in seven is making a charitable gift via a mobile device. It’s critical for donors to follow these easy giving tips, whether giving $50 or $500.”
Four tips to maximizing your Giving Season 2016 non-profit donations from Heisman:
1. Search Your Soul: Ask yourself what types of causes are important to you and your family. Do you want to make a difference on a national, local or international level? Listen to your heart; there are only “right” answers to these critical questions. If you have children, try getting them involved in this discussion as early as possible. Ask them to research and present to you why they want to choose a charity.
2. Begin with a Budget: How much you give is a personal decision and every dollar counts for charities. For the average American, a budget can be anywhere from 1 to 12 percent of income; there is no such thing as a “too small” donation. One of the many benefits to a charitable budget is that it empowers you to decline impulsive requests from co-workers and friends. You can’t—and shouldn’t—give reflexively to everyone who asks. A newer trend is charities asking to arrange a monthly gift to be automatically withdrawn from a donor’s checking account. This can help the charity—and you—budget better.
3. Give More to Less: Larger gifts to fewer charities creates a bigger impact. Giving to too many will dilute the effect of your hard-earned donations. I recommend donors give one charity $100 rather than five charities $20. It can cost a lot for a charity to find a donor, so stick with the organization for two or three years. Your gift will go further when a charity knows they can rely on your support. Elect to receive correspondence electronically to save on printing and postage.
4. Seek Transparency: Detailed, “360-degree view” communication from a charity is important when researching a new nonprofit. Take five minutes to evaluate the charity’s website and social media presence to learn about the impact it has made. Look for goals achieved that align with its mission and solid impact for the short and long-term. Check out reviews on Google, Facebook, GuideStar or CharityWatch. Avoid scams by donating directly via a charity’s website and confirming it’s a registered 501c3 at IRS.gov.
Be empowered! It’s absolutely okay to ask to speak to volunteers and recipients of the charity’s work (with consideration to potential privacy policies for some charities). If you have any questions, email the executive director. Afterwards, you should feel confident in three key things: the charity’s mission, leadership, and impact.
Alternative to Financial Donations
If this isn’t your year to make a financial contribution, commit to donating your time in 2017. There are 1.5 million charities in the US. Many run on the energy of volunteers and have opportunities that require as little as three hours a month. More than ever, there are also virtual volunteer opportunities you can do from home, on your own schedule, that will have just as much impact as being on-site. Asking is the first step to helping. Don’t wait for a charity to contact you.
“Donating cash, time or items from a charity’s ‘wish list’ make a difference and can be the most fulfilling thing you do this holiday season and throughout 2017,” concluded Heisman.
For more information about the fifth anniversary of #GivingTuesday (Nov. 29), visit GivingTuesday.org. Log on to HistoryofGiving.org, the most comprehensive digital narrative dedicated to the last 500 years of philanthropy, to access rarely seen images and video about charitable giving.
About National Philanthropic Trust
Marking its 20th Anniversary in 2016, NPT is the largest, national independent Donor-Advised Fund sponsor and has raised $6.2 billion in charitable contributions. NPT currently manages $2.9 billion in charitable assets and has made more than 150,000 grants exceeding $3.6 billion to charities around the world. NPT annually publishes the Donor-Advised Fund Report, the industry’s authority on the state of DAF giving. An inaugural supporter of #GivingTuesday in 2012, NPT helped bring the grass-roots movement to Philadelphia (#GTPHL) in 2013. More at NPTrust.org.